Compare options

  Non-surgical treatment Surgery
What is involved?

Find ways to get comfortable and stay active. Lose weight, exercises, use pain medication, and learn to keep active in spite of the pain.

During an operation the surgeon places the knee prosthesis.

You go home the same day or may stay in the hospital for a day.

You will walk with a walking aids for 2 to 4 weeks.

You will continue to improve for 12 months.


Exercises and pain medication are sufficient for 50 of 100 people.

80 to 90% of people are happy with their knee replacement. But 35% do not feel like their knees are normal

What are the risks?

There are no risks or side effects of more exercise.

Pain medicines have different side effects. Meloxicam, naproxen and diclofenac can cause an upset stomach (about 20 out of 100 people). 1-2% of pain medication users experience a serious complication during treatment like stomach problems, bleeding, heart attack or kidney problems.

Infection occurs in 1 out of 100 people.

Thrombosis (blood clot) can occur within 3 months after surgery in 2 out of 100 people.

15 out of 100 people have to undergo another surgery within 20 years.

1-2% of patient may experience a complication in the postoperative period. These include very serious and possibly life threatening problems such as a heart attack, pulmonary embolism, stroke or kidney failure.

Stiffness or loss of motion can also occur.

If you have heart or lung disease, the risks are greater for you. Also if you smoke or are overweight, you are more at risk from an operation.

The prosthesis can loosen. This occurs in 15 out of 100 people within 20 years.

There is a less than 1% chance there is temporary or permanent damage to a nerve.

How long it takes for treatment to take effect?

Many people feel less pain when the body is in better condition after several weeks or months of exercises.

Pain medicines can relieve pain temporarily within an hour or so.

If a corticosteroid injection relieves pain, it usually is felt within a week.

The pain and recovery improve for a year.

Most people walk without aids after 6 weeks.


When does the doctor recommend this treatment?

Stronger muscles and weight loss reduce the symptoms.

Pain medication and/or corticosteroid injections can provide some temporary relief.

An operation is considered if non-surgical treatments are not helping. 90 out of 100 people are satisfied with the operation. While 7 out of 100 people are dissatisfied.